Sunday, February 14, 2016

Charles Sydney Buxton (1884-1911)

I went to the antiques market in Market Harborough this morning. The best thing there was a table of ephemera. On it I found this little piece of Liberal Party history, which obviously dated from one of the 1910 general elections.

Charles Sydney Buxton, it turned out, fought Woodbridge at the January 1910 election. It had been gained from the Conservatives in the landslide of 1906 by Robert Everett (a veteran fighter for farmers' interests against the landlords).

Charles proved unable to hold it and the Woodbridge division remained Conservative until it was abolished after the 1945 election. The prominent Liberal journalist Roger Fulford managed a second place there as late as 1929.

Charles's father, grandfather and great grandfather were all Liberal MPs. His father served in the cabinet under both Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith.

His mother was Constance Mary Lubbock, which makes him a kinsman of Eric Avebury who died today.

Charles did not live to contest another election. He died from peritonitis in 1911 aged 27.

Not so long ago he would have been described as a forgotten figure. But thanks to the internet you can read all about his short life.

Go the University of Toronto website and you will find a PDF of a book about Charles commissioned by his father - Charles Sydney Buxton: A Memoir by H. Sanderson Furniss:
I had thought of calling this last chapter "The End," but on thinking it over I changed the title to "Plans for the Future"; for it was not the end. 
In the Sussex Memorial scheme, founded to bring education to the agricultural labourers in the Sussex villages ; in the Buxton Memorial Scholarship, which brings each year an agricultural labourer as a student to Ruskin College; in the annual scholarship, founded in his memory and provided by past and present students of the College; in Buxton Cottage on the Chiltern Hills, bought by the Workers' Educational Association and opened in his memory as a resting-place for those who are devoting their lives to working-class education; above all, in the hearts and lives of those who were inspired by his example, Charlie still lives.

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